October 18, 2010

b2evolution Embraces Beta, Befriends Twitter

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After waiting many long, long months, b2evolution (a distant cousin of WordPress) has left the Alpha stage and is now officially embracing the beta.

We are happy to annonce that b2evolution version 4.0.1-beta has been released. […]

Although it is pretty stable, we still call this version beta because there are minor bugs we are aware of and we want to fix before the final 4.0 release.

We bumped the version number up to 4.0.1 because we felt we needed to add a few little features, especially to improve the speed of spam moderation operations.

Of course, as previously announced, this version also comes with a fully functioning twitter plugin, conforming to the new twitter API. (Official b2evolution Blog)

The new version also boasts an advanced Ajax to help bloggers combat human spam (which has been on the rise unfortunately), and their embrace of Twitter’s Oauth should help make the blog software more appealing to tweetaholics.

Although not as popular as its cousin WordPress (as the two do share bloodlines), b2evolution’s latest release could help the platform regain some much needed attention as a serious tool for probloggers.

Once the platform exits beta, it will be interesting to see how b2evolution competes against larger rivals (like WordPress) as well as upcoming challengers such as Melody (the latter which is a “fork” of Movable Type).

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October 15, 2010

VPS.NET To WordPress Fans: VaultPress Now Included

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Automattic (the company behind WordPress) continues their path of backup domination with news that will probably please WordPress fans hosting on VPS.NET (a cloud hosting service).

Our friends at VPS.NET have just turned on their partner golden ticket machine for VaultPress, and are now making these golden tickets available to all of their hosting clients. We’re excited to bring them on as a partner as we continue to roll the VaultPress beta out to more customers. (Official VaultPress Blog)

VPS.NET alerted users via Twitter (as shown below) and are providing their customers with priority access to VaultPress in which they can access by clicking upon a link while logged into their accounts.

This is Automattic’s second hosting partnership as they have previously partnered with WPEngine (which is a WordPress only hosting company).

With many WordPress fans attempting to get their hands upon a VaultPress golden ticket, it would not be surprising to see WordPress partner with other reputable companies before launching VaultPress to the public.

Note: Users who sign up with VaultPress (while the platform is currently in beta) are able to receive a monthly discount for the service, which are priced at $15/month and $40/month for the standard and premium services, respectively.

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October 14, 2010

Ning Courts WordPress

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Ning (a premium DIY social networking service) is reaching out to WordPress fans by eliminating the need to repost blog entries upon ones social Ning network.

Built on the Ning API, Ning Publisher for WordPress allows WordPress blog posts to be automatically published into your Ning Pro Network’s blog section. This allows you to mirror content from your public WordPress blog inside your Ning Network, so your members can add comments without needing to visit a separate website. You can see this in action on the Brooklyn Art Project network.

You can also create a private WordPress blog that publishes directly to your Ning Network. This gives you the same seamless integration you’d get from using Ning’s built-in blogging tools, while allowing you to take advantage of advanced WordPress features and workflows. (Official Ning Blog)

Despite the fact that Ning already allows you to blog utilizing its services, the company probably realized that convincing users to ditch WordPress for Ning was a lost cause.

By allowing users to mirror posts over, Ning gives WordPress fans another reasons to utilize its platform while at the same time focusing on its strengths (which is social networking).

This service is available for self hosted WordPress fans via plugin, although the company has opened up its API for other platforms as well (provided you can do the coding).

Ironically Ning currently faces competition in the DIY social networking space from BuddyPress by Automattic (aka the creators of WordPress), and it will be interesting to see if this new feature will convince WP fans to embrace Ning.

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EllisLab To ExpressionEngine Fans: We’re Sorry

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Fans of ExpressionEngine (a premium CMS/blogging software developed by EllisLabs) have been criticizing the company lately over bugs from the company’s launch of ExpressionEngine 2.0 (which was released in July).

After gathering feedback from developers, Kenny Meyers published an article criticizing EllisLab for their silence regarding ExpressionEngine’s launch (in which he humorously compared EllisLab to Apple), as well as highlighting why the company needs to hire a UX (aka user experience) designer.

In response to the criticism (which seems to have the support of many EE developers), EllisLab issued a response upon their corporate blog. read more

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October 13, 2010

Page.ly: Let Us Instruct You In The Art Of WordPress

If there was one company that had the potential of redefining WordPress self hosting as we know it, I would say Page.ly would be it.

While providing the speed and security of rivals, Page.ly’s approach to WordPress is to simply provide users with the tools they need to succeed while cutting out the bloat ware that most users could care less about.

Founded by Joshua and Sally Strebel in April of 2009, Page.ly has been servicing customers large and small, as well as helping a few clients start their own WordPress empires.

After coming across the service months ago, I was impressed how polished the site was on the outside, although it was only after digging in that I was able to uncover the Page.ly’s true power underneath. read more

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October 12, 2010

Posterous For iPhone: The Good, The Bad And The Awesome

Known mostly for challenging the status quo as well as rescuing users from less than trustworthy platforms, Posterous has decided to re-enter the iWars by launching a new iPhone app sporting their corporate name.

Effortless sharing from your iPhone has arrived with the new Posterous iPhone app.  If you are looking for a fun and simple way to update friends and family while you’re on-the-go, the Posterous iPhone app is for you.

Just touch post, add any combination of text, photos or videos and you’re ready to post.  You can add tags, share your geotag location or even mark a post as private straight from the app. (Official Posterous Blog)

Unlike their first iPhone app (entitled PicPosterous which oddly is still listed upon the app store), Posterous for iPhone allows users to sign up to the service right from the app, as well as create new blogs directly from the iPhone without the need of a notebook or PC. read more

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Digg CEO Matt Williams: Sorry We Pissed Everyone Off

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DiggDigg CEO Matt Williams practically went into hiding after the horrible release of Digg Version 4, but he’s emerged from that PR coma to say “sorry that we disappointed our Digg community in the process.” Williams has also promised to return popular features that users were angry to see leave.

The most requested feature for return the “bury” button will return as will profile data from earlier versions of the Digg system. Williams has also announced that the “Top News” algorithm will be updated.

Digg is stuck in a sticky situation, on the one hand, much of their “network shares” have relied on “legacy” users, who in many cases are holdovers since the company beta version of the website, while other new users expect to find new features that match a more streamlined social media system for 2010. Perhaps a “legacy” button which would allow users to switch to the type of profile they choose would be a better decision.

Williams has promised in his press statement to make things better by taking various approaches:

“Our top priority is to make Digg as good as it used to be. Then we plan to make it even better, through innovations in both Top News and My News.” read more

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WordPress.com Vs “I Control My Site” (Which Is Better?)

Of all the WordPress hosting companies that I’ve tested, I have yet to come across one that could potentially challenge Automattic for the WP crown–until now.

Going by the name of I Control My Site, this company has the potential of challenging Automattic by offering users more freedom with their WordPress blogs at the low cost of free (note: this only applies to their Lite plan).

Publicly unveiled in August of 2010, I Control My Site presents users with an inexpensive alternative to WordPress.com that is in many ways similar to Automattic due to its custom admin interface as well as its “social” UI that allows one to send a “friend request” to users within the community.

While I Control My Site does offer users the ability to upgrade their accounts in order to take advantage of extra features (such as email, FTP, more space, etc.), users who enjoy blogging under a sub domain for free may want to check out I Control My Site before making any commitments to WP.com. read more

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October 11, 2010

Foursquare Launches Symbian Application

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Foursquare Symbian App Screenshot

Foursquare has just opened their application up to millions of new users, announcing today on their blog that they have finally released a Symbian based version of their popular location based check-in program.

The announcement gives millions of users with middle and low-end phones access to the company’s database including a home screen widget that shows the most recent friend check-ins on your account (pictured).

While the official announcement from Foursquare was made today, the program has actually been available for two weeks in the Nokia Ovi store and has quickly climbed near the top of the Nokia store’s top download list (top 30 apps).

The Foursquare app will work with Symbian 3.2, 5.0, and ^3 Smartphones. read more

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WordPress Porting Gravatar Hovercards For The Rest Of Us

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Not too long ago, Automattic launched WordPress Gravatars for WP.com users, which turn your comment avatar into a virtual business card.

It’s now easy to find out about who is behind your favorite comments simply by moving your mouse.  This new feature is now enabled by default across WordPress.com. […]

You can see other people’s Hovercards by moving your mouse over their Gravatar picture in comments on any WordPress.com blog, and after a moment the Hovercard will appear. The information shown is taken directly from the person’s Gravatar profile. The more info in the profile, the more we show in the Hovercard.

This can help you when moderating comments, as Hovercards will appear not only on blogs, but inside your blog dashboard as well. (Official WordPress Blog)

While Automattic’s Gravatar refreshing could potentially kill off Google Profiles, thus far the feature was only available for about half of the WordPress universe as self hosting fans were mostly out of luck. read more

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